October 10, 2016

A Tale of Two Babies: A Transatlantic Gauntlet

"... it was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

So that might be a slightly dramatic way to sum up a transatlantic trip with a baby encompassing 8,656 miles, 27 total hours in the airport, 10 total hours in the car, one lost stroller, three new teeth, 17 sleepless nights, and countless liters of consumed hefeweizen to maintain sanity, but that's just how I roll, okay?

Seriously, though, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Flying with a baby is not easy. But it's not impossible either, and with the right preparations, you can at least ensure that your marriage survives unscathed even if your eardrums don't.

Read More: Tips on traveling with a baby

To be fair, it actually wasn't as horrible as I expected. Granted, I had envisioned an inconsolable, wailing child for every single minute of the 19 hours in the air, but that only turned out to be true for about five of those hours. Okay, so maybe it was more like six (or seven?), but my therapist said I shouldn't keep focusing on the bad parts.

Baby Gypsy did extremely well on the flight from Washington D.C. to Reykjavik. No crying during the take-off (nor during the landing later). We had three seats to ourselves, and we managed to soothe her to sleep fairly quickly. I even dozed a little, too. As we landed in a sunny, but briskly cool Reykjavik airport, I even dared to think, Hey, flying with a baby isn't that bad after all.

You can see where this is going already. I obviously jinxed it.

As our flight from Reykjavik to Frankfurt was delayed by over an hour, the native grew increasingly restless. Increasingly sleepy. Increasingly angry. That flight will be forever ingrained in my memory as the nightmare flight. It was like our little Baby Jekyll turned into little Baby Hyde. She screamed for almost the entire four hour flight. Joking aside, I have never felt so ineffective or defeated as a mother than during that flight. There was nothing I could do for her, and to be honest, I kind of felt like screaming, too. I just wanted to get to our destination and pass out as soon as possible.

But alas, our transit woes did not cease upon touchdown at Frankfurt. IcelandAir had the best, most friendly, most understanding, and most attractive stewardesses and service on board the flight. I've never been so impressed by men and women taking such pride in their image and work.

The baggage handling side of things? Not so much.

We arrived in Frankfurt an hour later than the original itinerary, harried and scarred from our baby's screams (go figure, she was all smiles as soon as the plane landed), and waited around to grab our one checked suitcase, the stroller, and the car seat. We waited. And waited. And waited. Two hours later, we finally figured out that our stroller was not going to make an appearance. So we filed a claim and escaped the airport for the two hour drive home to Dinkelsbühl.

Never one to fail us, the Autobahn made sure to turn the two hour drive to nearly four. Thank you, baustelle. At least, it didn't cost us a missed flight this time.

Fast forward two and a half weeks and the return flights home to the United States were more of the same. More construction on the autobahn, causing us to reroute ourselves through back roads and discovering the scenic Castle Road route through Bavaria and Baden-Würrtemberg. More delays in the airport. More screaming baby time on the flight from Iceland to Washington, D.C.

But you know what?

It. Was. SO. Worth. It.

All that stress during transit was worth it for Baby Gypsy to meet her Great-Grandmother (Oma) for the first time. Worth it to meet Danny's sister Elke for the first time. Worth it to spend seventeen glorious days in a fairy-tale town surrounded by medieval walls, a river, and a moat. Worth it to see the world anew through the eyes of a little one who has so much more yet to see.

So while the thought of getting back on a plane with an infant may give me flashback anxiety for a wee bit longer, it's more than outweighed by all the great memories made.

Proof of fairy-tale town.


Want more Thrifty Gypsy? Follow along on social media!
Instagram   |   Facebook   |   Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your comments, feedback, and suggestions.